1. When Jews come together for a Chassidic gathering it evokes great joy on high, as the Alter Rebbe quipped, that the “message which came from heaven” told of the greatness of Jewish gatherings.

What happens after the farbrengen is over and those who had assembled are preparing to depart and return to their respective homes? It would appear that the opposite phenomenon is taking place.

The truth, however, is that the spirit of unity will continue to be felt even after returning home, for the good resolutions which were accepted in unison will be carried out there.

This will be especially true in the case of Yud-Tes Kislev, the “Rosh Hashanah” of Chassidus.

The “rosh,” or “head,” encompasses the life of the entire body. Through the central nervous system the life force spreads to permeate every organ of the body. Similarly, Yud-Tes Kislev, the head of the Chassidic year, is the source for this infusion of Chassidic life to spread throughout the year.

The head of the body is healthy when all of the organs function properly and draw life and direction from the head; each one carrying out its particular and unique function.

Thus the perfection of Yud-Tes Kislev will be realized not when the good resolutions are accepted at the farbrengen — rather when they are fulfilled later by each person in bringing the good feelings and resolutions to action. Similarly, the enthusiasm and zealousness which are engendered at the time of the farbrengen continue to influence the person’s individual Divine service in his own place during the year.

The unity which prevails at the farbrengen engenders good resolutions and enthusiasm and they come to fruition and perfection when they are carried out by each individual in his/her own place, relating to self and others.

The Alter Rebbe emphasizes this in Tanya chapter 32 in speaking of the importance of Ahavas Yisroel, that even when Jews are dispersed the unity of purpose unites them.

Coming from the day of Yud-Tes Kislev we must emphasize the importance of “spreading the fountains of Chassidus to the outside,” which will bring the Master — Moshiach; then, from the beginning of the New Year, we will be in a year of redemption, leading to all the blessings that follow the letters of the aleph bais:

[Note: The Rebbe, Shlita, here enumerated blessings according to the order of the aleph bais, from aleph till tav.]

A year of light, a year of blessing, a year of gladness, a year of cheer, a year of glory and splendor, a year of productive cooperation, a year of many merits, a year of grace and kindness, a year of goodness, a year of good promise, a year of prosperity, a year of successful study, an uplifted year, a year of great miracles, a year of good signs, a year of strength, a year of salvation, a year of exultation, a year of praise, and a year of repentance, prayer and Torah.

Reaching out to spread the wellsprings of Torah must complement the basic involvement in Torah and mitzvos. In the Alter Rebbe’s letters connecting Yud-Tes Kislev with the verse “He has redeemed my soul in peace...,” the Alter Rebbe quotes the Talmudic exegesis of “...the study of Torah and works of charity and prayer with the congregation,” — these are the pillars of Torah and mitzvos.

Another lesson should be drawn from this day, on the eve of Chanukah, when we prepare to fulfill the mitzvah of Chanukah. There are two important lessons which we learn from the Chanukah candles:

(1) “We must increase light from day to day,” and; (2) “The light must illuminate the outside of the door of the house.”

Increasing light means that each day another candle is added to the menorah and at the same time all of the increases are included in the first candle of the first night, for the oil which miraculously lasted eight days was found on the first day! So we cannot be complacent with our past accomplishments, we must always increase light, holiness and radiance from day to day.

The candles must be at the doorway to illuminate the night even for those who, for whatever reason, are on the “outside” of the Jewish home. They, too, should see the Chanukah candles. In answer to their curious puzzlement, they will be told the meaning of the miracle and their Jewish spark will be kindled. In that way the power of the mitzvah candles and Torah light, through Torah and mitzvos, will also increase in intensity.

In all areas of our Divine service we must incorporate this philosophy of reaching out and growth.

May all the candles be brought together to form one giant candle, just as all Jews comprise one great congregation. No matter how distant is their dispersal, by carrying out their mutual resolution they are really one. The increase in Torah and mitzvos will bring the true redemption through our righteous Moshiach. So that from these last moments of the golus we will dance with Moshiach into our Holy Land, to the capital city Yerushalayim, the Holy City, to the Temple Mount and the Bais Hamikdosh, where we will kindle lamps in the holy courtyards; and the lamps of the menorah, inside the Bais Hamikdosh, at the hands of Aharon the Kohen Godol. May we merit to see that kindling.

We will close with the distribution of dollar bills to make each of you “messengers of tzedakah” and when you reach your destination give the bill or its replacement to charity.

The Alter Rebbe said that tzedakah helped bring his release sooner, so may our tzedakah bring the ultimate redemption, sooner. And may G‑d grant us all the blessings according to the aleph bais, which include children, health and prosperity for everyone, among all the Jewish people; to the ultimate blessing of true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

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2. May the Holy One Blessed, be He, bestow blessing and success on every bar-mitzvah celebrant, together with their parents, brothers and sisters and all their relatives — in all of their needs.

When a Jew reaches the age of maturity he assumes responsibility for Torah and mitzvos; may the Holy One Blessed be He, give him all that he will need to be able to study Torah and observe mitzvos with joy and gladness of heart.

This will bring the greatest happiness; to fulfill G‑d’s will in this physical world and to cause G‑d pleasure, especially when it will be done with joy and Chassidic warmth. This is the message of the Title Page of Tanya, where the Alter Rebbe explains how the thought, speech and action of Torah are very close to the person.

Happy is their lot and great is the merit of the parents who have brought children into the world and have educated them to study Torah and practice mitzvos. Now, when they reach the age of bar mitzvah or bas mitzvah they become the messengers of G‑d to create a dwelling place for G‑dliness in the world. This brings perfection to the Jewish people and to the world.

May this merit be added to other good merits among all the Jewish people and may it unify us all to be one great assembly with Ahavas Yisroel and Jewish unity. It will nullify the golus and we will merit the true and complete redemption.

Coming from Yud-Tes Kislev gives everyone special powers in all these matters. Today is also Erev Chanukah — a time which reminds us of the miracles in the Bais Hamikdosh, and therefore at this season it is most appropriate that we should merit to see the lighting of the candelabras in the courtyard of the Temple and the menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh.

The Torah and mitzvos of the bar-mitzvah boys will increase the Torah light, just as on Chanukah we must steadily increase light, which will increase the blessings of G‑d for all that is needed, materially and spiritually. True Yiddishe, Chassidishe nachas from all the bar-mitzvah boys together with all the blessings of the “aleph bais,” and most importantly, a year of redemption, speedily and truly in our time.

In order to add more blessing and to share in your joy — which is the joy of the entire Jewish people, I will give each of you a dollar bill and appoint you “messengers of a mitzvah” to distribute tzedakah.

The bar-mitzvah celebrants should each give Tzedakah on his birthday and if it occurs on Shabbos, the tzedakah should be given before and after Shabbos. They should also study the 14th Psalm of Tehillim.

And may all these good practices bring Dovid the King Moshiach who will come and take everyone of us and all of Israel to our Holy Land, to the Holy City, Yerushalyim, the Temple Mount and the Bais Hamikdosh, with joy and glad hearts.

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3. May the Holy One, Blessed be He, give success to each of you, together with your families, to make all the wedding preparations with great success, and certainly the weddings should take place in good and auspicious times. May the joy of the groom and bride bring an increase in joy for all of Israel. As the joy of an individual Jew is the joy of the Jewish people, it brings closer the joy of redemption, as we say in the Marriage Benedictions:

L‑rd our G‑d, let there speedily be heard in the cities of Yehudah and the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a bride and the sound of a groom. (Siddur)

On the morning of the wedding day the groom and bride should give charity. The parents should do likewise in the merit of the groom and bride.

The couple will certainly commit themselves to build an everlasting edifice (family) based on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos as illuminated by Chassidus. We are now in the period just after Yud-Tes Kislev and it is a propitious time for the spirit of Chassidus to penetrate these lives and homes.

In this manner they will merit all the blessings according to the letters of the “aleph-bais,” especially the blessing of bearing sons and daughters who will occupy themselves in Torah and mitzvos; and who will be raised to study Torah, to the wedding canopy and to do good deeds. With joy and glad hearts, prosperity and good health. All of these blessings should begin with the preparation for the wedding and go on to the wedding — Sheva Brochos and for many long years.

May they merit to have Jewish and Chassidic homes, with health, joy and success. And may G‑d grant that speedily their home will be established in our Holy Land! And they will come to Yerushalayim the Holy City and the Third Bais Hamikdosh.

By preparing for recitation of the blessing “...let there speedily be heard,” may we come to the fulfillment of the promise: “Again there shall be heard...the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride” (Yirmiyah 33:10-11), with the coming of our righteous Moshiach.

To merit participation in this great joy, I will give each of you a dollar bill to give to charity on your wedding day. Those who are already married should give the tzedakah now. May all the blessings be fulfilled and may it be a year of joy in all details, joyous weddings, happy occasions and the joy of redemption and all the other blessings of Torah, teshuvah and prayer — but mainly a year of the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.